Trump White House is in crisis, and the current state of the
executive branch is unsustainable. A corrosive mix of hubris,
ignorance and corruption, the president is a pathological liar and a
walking conflict of interests. Trump mocks the presidency and
undermines its integrity. As he eschews the rule of law and flaunts
his disdain for tradition and proper procedures, his white
supremacist advisers channel hate into public policy and dismantle
the apparent implosion of the administration underway—amid
reports that the president and numerous advisers have ties to Russian
officials— Donald Trump will eventually leave office, whether
through impeachment, criminal conviction or other means. Americans
should ensure their political system does not produce future
presidents like him, as we cannot afford another such threat to
democratic governance. If the nation hopes to prevent this from
happening again, it must learn from the flaws in our political
systems and the shortcomings in our civic life.
shocking to the conscience his conduct in office, Trump is uniquely
American and required decades to create. His success speaks to years
of white identity and race card politics by the Republicans, and a
legalized corruption scheme allowing unlimited financial influence -
anonymous and unaccountable - to infest the body politic.
must consider how they became a vehicle for white supremacy and
plutocratic greed, the party of racial gerrymandering and voter
suppression, of science deniers and alternative fact peddlers. The
has caught up with the GOP, the result being a nearly exclusively
white, revanchist party in opposition to multiculturalism and civil
rights. Given America’s demographic realities, such as party is
unsustainable, short of political repression or autocratic rule. In
the short run, the GOP must fish or cut bait, and decide whether they
are a center-right party, or the party of Trump—an extremist,
white nationalist party like France’s National
or the Netherlands’ Party
contrast, the Democratic Party should ask how the onetime labor
stronghold drifted away from working people, opting for milquetoast
equivocation and Wall Street benefactors. With the loss of the
presidency, Congress and a thousand state-level offices in 2016, the
Democrats spent over $1 billion
with little to nothing to show for it. After neglecting their base
for years, Democrats need to reevaluate their overemphasis on the
professional class, and overreliance on focus groups, consultants and
data-driven campaigns, embracing an unabashedly progressive agenda
with down-to-earth messaging and appealing narratives.
has a role to play as well. A civically disengaged citizenry lacking
in critical thinking skills enables Donald Trump, making his ascent
possible. The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral
the U.S. 138th in voter turnout globally.
Meanwhile, recent studies have shown that many students cannot
distinguish between real news and fake news, and fail to develop
critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills.
don’t believe there is any problem of American politics and
American public life which is more significant today than the
pervasive civic ignorance of the Constitution of the United States
and the structure of government,” said U.S.
Supreme Court Justice David Souter
in 2012, bemoaning that two-thirds of Americans are unaware the U.S.
government has three branches. “And the day will come when
somebody will come forward, and we and the government will in effect
say, ‘Take the ball and run with it. Do what you have to do.’
That is the way democracy dies. and if something is not done to
improve the level of civic knowledge, that is what you should worry
about at night,” Souter added, seemingly predicting the rise of
are discovering democracy is not for armchair spectators. Outright
assaults by the Trump regime on civil rights, civil liberties and
cherished freedoms have triggered an outpouring of activism. People
who never engaged in politics are getting involved on the local
level, running for office and joining organizations, forming new
groups and placing themselves directly in the political process.
Activities such as the Women’s March, and Tea Party-esque town
hall meetings cropping up in red districts indicate that something
positive is brewing in the country. But this level of civic
engagement must be sustained if real change is to come.
America needs a revamping of the two-party system to include vibrant,
new voices and break the monopoly on political participation. America
must remove the influence of money in its politics, and reject the
system of legalized bribery to which the nation has grown accustomed.
Automatic voter registration and compulsory voting would increase
civic participation. Finally, the U.S. must divest itself of
gerrymandering and voter suppression measures that dilute the votes
of people of color, the poor and the disenfranchised, and unduly
amplify the voices of the former Confederacy. Only then will we
prevent new Donald Trumps from rising again in our midst.
commentary was originally published by TheHuffingtonPost.com